Dark cherries are currently in season. Even though I had gone through the process of making raspberry and blueberry liqueurs, it occurred to me that another ruby-hued liqueur in time for the holidays would be quite festive.
I'm still in my learning phase with these liqueurs with the Pallini Raspicello and Peachcello
as guide markers on my quest. Those two drinks have a 26% ABV potency and a slightly viscous mouthfeel. I am also using Villa Massa Limoncello
as an example. It boasts a 30% ABV with a similar viscous character. I had thought that adding glycerine to the final product when bottling my raspberry and blueberry liqueurs would provide the viscous characteristic I was seeking, but that didn't really achieve my goal.
So yesterday I washed, sliced, and mashed 5 pounds of fresh dark cherries I had just purchased from the store. I had 3 cups of Everclear left over from making the blueberry liqueur. I stirred that into the broken cherries, put the lid on, and placed the jar in the coolest, darkest part of the house with a towel around it to further exclude the light. There it will sit, with an occasional stir, for 2 months. Around October 15th, I'll strain the alcoholic liquid from the fruit pulp and add in my Not-So-Simple-Syrup (NSSS).
Starting with a base alcohol of 75.5% strength, my desire is to divide that in thirds, arriving at a target final strength of around 25%. The other two thirds of the liqueur would be made up of fruit juice and "NSSS". That goal should put me close to the 26% potency of the previously mentioned Pallini
I've bemoaned the confusion and disagreement of what constitutes "Simple Syrup". Some mark it as a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. Others post it as a 2:1 ratio, sugar to water. I used a 2:1 ratio for my raspberry and blueberry liqueurs. I discovered another ratio that really intrigues me when I checked out a Cointreau recipe
... 4:1, sugar to water.
I wasn't sure that 4 cups of sugar would successfully dissolve in 1 cup of water. Earlier when researching for the raspberry and blueberry Simple Syrup, I Googled how much sugar could be dissolved in a quantity of water. It seemed a consensus pegged it at 2 cups in 1 cup of water. Yesterday I successfully (?) dissolved 4 cups of sugar in 1 cup of water, stirring constantly. I didn't think this qualified as mere Simple Syrup of 1:1 or 2:1 strength, so I'm calling it Not-So-Simple-Syrup (NSSS)
. Why do I think I need the NSSS? Well, I'm trying to limit the volume of liquid in this liqueur so that I can approach my targeted 26% alcohol strength. How can I do that and still deliver the sweetening power that the liqueur needs? Hopefully that can be achieved by concentrating the sugar per water ratio. I am also hoping that the NSSS will contribute a more viscous mouthfeel to the final product.
Several cherry liqueur recipes suggest taking some of the cherry pits and cracking them to expose a slight bittering to the final product. I don't believe that's a great idea. Here's why
So now I wait until mid-October for the next phase of my liqueur education.